Grading State Disclosure 2003 Logo Graphic

A l a s k a


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Campaign Disclosure Law
Electronic Filing Program
Disclosure Content Accessibility
Online Contextual & Technical Usability

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The State of Disclosure in Alaska

Although Alaska has some good information on its web site and does very well when compared to many other states, it has room to improve its campaign finance disclosure program, particularly in Electronic Filing and Disclosure Content Accessibility.

Alaska's law requires candidates to file campaign finance reports once during non-election years and two times before an election. Candidates must provide detailed information about contributors, including his or her occupation and employer, for those who give $100 or more. As of September 14, 2003, a new state law removes the $100 threshold and requires all contributions to be itemized. Independent expenditures must be reported within ten days of being made, but late independent expenditures (made within ten days preceding an election) are not reported until after the election. Although Alaska has an electronic filing program, it is voluntary for statewide and legislative candidates and the program is not adequately funded.

Alaska does a fair job of making campaign finance disclosure information available to the public, but it could do better. While the state publishes all campaign finance reports on its disclosure web site (reports from candidates who do not file electronically are data-entered by staff), accessibility to this data could be improved. Alaska does feature a searchable database of contributions on its web site, but it is somewhat confusing to use because there are two ways to do searches; an expanded search in which it is possible to search by donor, amount and date, but not by a contributor's employer or zip code, and a more limited search in which one can only search by contributor. An explanation of the differences between the two searches would be helpful. Other drawbacks include campaign finance reports that are not always available in a timely manner, a lack of downloadable files and no searchable database of expenditures.

Alaska's biggest strength lies in the usability of its web site – it ranked third in the nation in this category. The state provides a good explanation of its laws governing campaign finance disclosure and restrictions. The site also offers some unique overview information, including lists of delinquent and unpublished campaign finance reports and overall statistics about campaign finance reporting in the state. While the site features overviews of campaign financing activity for past elections, there are no such overviews for elections after 1999. Usability testers found the site easy to use, with six out of six locating the disclosure web site, and reporting the same number for total amounts received by candidates for governor.

Disclosure Agency: Alaska Public Offices Commission
Disclosure Web Site:

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This page was first published on September 17, 2003
| Last updated on September 17, 2003
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